The Conquistador men's basketball program got a facelift this off-season.
First-year head coach Jake Williams brought in two new assistant coaches to go along with 14 brand new faces, lending itself to a level of excitement the program hasn't had in quite some time.
"First off, we're excited and thankful for the NJCAA leading us through this process and pushing the season back to January," said Williams of the opportunity at hand this spring. "With that said, this season will be unlike anything I've ever coached.
"With 21 of our 22 games being KJCCC competition we look forward to having one of the toughest schedules in the country built in for us."
One of the toughest schedules in the country is exactly right.With the 21-game conference schedule decided for the Conquistadors, they added a Jan. 22 matchup with Bethany College's JV squad to gear up for Coach Williams' introduction to KJCCC play.
Beginning with Jayhawk East-Jayhawk West crossover play, the Conquistadors open up on Jan. 27 on the road at Neosho. They then take on Butler at home, go on the road to Cloud County, come back to face Independence in The Dome, face two straight road contests against Allen and reining Jayhawk East champion Cowley, then finish with a home matchup against Coffeyville.
The Conquistadors then move into Jayhawk West play. This features home and home matchups with the traditional foes of Hutchinson, Seward County, Garden City, Colby, Northwest Kansas Tech, Pratt, and Barton.
Despite only winning five conference games in the past two years, Coach Williams brought in a squad that immediately demands national attention.
The Conquistadors brought in a reining NJCAA 1st Team All-American in Walyn Napper, two key pieces from coach Williams' championship winning USC-Salkehatchie squad in Marlow Gilmore Jr. and Michael Marsh as well as several highly sought-after high school recruits including Oumar Koureissi and Roger McFarlane.
All of this, including a sophomore returner in Quindarius Thomas who is fresh off an All-KJCCC performance as a freshman, leads to high hopes around the Conquistador community.
From a personnel perspective, I think we have the talent and the pieces to compete at the highest level. Once we figure each other out, I think this team could be a really fun product to watch," said Williams of the new look Conquistadors. "In an already deep and highly competitive league with great coaches and great players, we hope to come in and immediately add to the KJCCC's depth of legitimate contenders."